The fetal origins hypothesis asserts that nutrient deprivation in utero
can raise chronic disease risk. Within economics, this hypothesis has
gained acceptance as a leading explanation for the correlations between
birth weight, a proxy for fetal nutrient intake, and adult outcomes.
Exploiting birth-weight differences between twins using (a) a newlycreated
dataset of twins from 1960-1982 California birth records and
(b) the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Birth Cohort, I find birth
weight is related to educational attainment, later pregnancy complications,
and the birth weight of the next generation. These effects are generally
small. However, the protective effects of birth weight vary across
the birth-weight distribution. (JEL: I12, I21, J13)
"Separated at Girth: US Twin Estimates of the Effects of Birth Weight."
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics,
Analysis of Education
Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth